Again, adapted from the haggis website, more details up soon'We departed for our journey north over Bonar Bridge. On the way we took in the views of Dornoch Firth and Dornoch town's picturesque Cathedral. We played Frisbee on the amazing sandy beaches at Dingwall and then made a stop at Glen Ord Distillery. We took a wee walk at Glen Affric, home to one of the largest remnants of the ancient Caledonian Pine Forest before we passed through Drumnadrochit and back to Fort Augustus (on the banks of Loch Ness) for the night.'
Woke up, breakfast, shower etc, then reentered my dorm that I was sharing with five other guys from the tour....the air was rancid
. It was 'stinky', he had not showered yet on the tour and his shoes were also rank. The guy's name was Justin, he was a fat kid from Canberra currently living in England, and he stank and he was really annoying to top it off...his social skills were about at a 10 year old`s level. It was pretty clear that he was to be avoided for the rest of the trip....but somehow I ended up sitting next to him on the bus for most of the day, so I spent a good deal of time holding my breath so as to not get infected by the stench of BO mixed with cigarette smoke.
We set off about 8.30am and stopped mid-morning on a beach in Dingwall and played around and explored the place. It was OK, but way too cold for a swim, I just went in knee deep. After a supermarket stop for lunch we went to the Glen Ord Distillery for a tour and a sample of the water of life, which was OK, but local ales are definitely more to my taste. After the distillery we took in some really nice scenery and went for a couple of walks in the wilderness. At one of the stops I managed to have a bit of time to myself and just explore for an hour or so, which was really cool. It turned into a pretty sunny day in the afternoon, so the scenery was lit up and glowed a vivid green colour.
We passed along Loch Ness in the afternoon and stopped at a castle right on the water`s edge
. It wall crawling with tourists, but was still a good spot. After this we went to a clansman show in Fort Augustus that was run by a guy whose last name was Robertson (which is my mum`s maiden name) and he showed us how to put on a kilt and also showed us all the weapons that highlanders used to kill other highlanders or the English or whoever they felt like killing. It was a really good insight into what life would have been like for a typical highland family a few hundred years ago. After the show it was back to our accommodation (Morag`s lodge), where I sampled some more local ales in the evening and got to know a few of the other people on our tour. I`d sampled a couple of ales the night before, both were really dark and really good, but I started with a red ale tonight and it was really good too. I forget what all the breweries are called, just that pretty much everything I tried I liked. But I didn`t want to get too bloated so switched to lager after a couple of pints, so it was Tennents (which is a Glasgow lager and sold pretty much everywhere in Scotland) for the rest of the evening. At about 11pm this old guy who lives across the road from the hostel came in and unplugged the microphone of the guy who was playing some live music in the bar. The musician reacted and pushed him over and then the old guy got up and started yelling and told everyone that the music was keeping his 85 year old wife awake. I felt sorry of the old guy but also felt sorry for the musician, as all he would have seen was some bloke tampering with his equipment, which is obviously pretty important to him
. The old guy dealt with things in completely the wrong way, but he still ended up on the floor, which wasn`t nice. But the music didn`t stop and after the old man went home to his wife the party continued. I was meant to be in a room with Justin and another guy, but there was a spare bed in the dorm where the other guys from Adelaide were sleeping, so I moved in there for the night to get away from the smell....as far as I could tell, stinky had still not showered.
Monday August 23rd'Today we got amongst some spectacular Highland scenery and did our own thing. In the evening we chilled out in Morag’s Lodge with a nice local beer and got dressed up in kilts!'
Sorry for the lack of details here, but I wanted to post something band am short on time. Figured posting the 'official itinerary' would at least give people an idea of what I've been up to.
Well here are the detail....
Today was a free day, so we could do what we pleased. Fort Augustus is right on the banks of Loch Ness, so the idea was that we could explore the Loch or maybe take a boat tour. I`d taken a boat tour of Loch Ness the last time I was in Scotland, so didn`t bother and it was raining, so in the morning I just took it easy around the hostel. It was this morning that I first encountered The Trunch(bull), an unpleasant, unattractive and rather negative individual who`s favourite pass time seemed to be looking for the worst in everyone and everything
. We were the only two in the breakfast room as we were both up early and it turned out that she was also in my dorm. She ignored me but I said 'good morning' and she came and sat a bit closer. She then interrogated me on why me and the other guys in the dorm had been so loud when we came in the previous evening, and questioned why we had turned the lights on and not used a torch at such an ungodly hour. My response was that I had actually come in after the other guys (which I had as I was getting my stuff and moving it from the stinky room to the other room), so I couldn't speak on behalf of the others and was unaware that any light had been turned on, or that anyone was being noisy. I also felt inclined to mention that all of us were in bed before midnight, which on a tour like this, and in a hostel in general, is pretty bloody early, so if a light was turned on it's not really all that unreasonable. She then showed me the 'torch keyring' that she carried around at all times and told me that I, and the other guys in my room, needed to purchase one of these devices so we don't wake others when we come back to our dorms. She informed me (with no hint of sarcasm) that it is the first thing that every traveler should acquire before setting off for their trip. It was clear that here we had a major case of 'The Trunch', and she would be referred to as such for the rest of the trip. After The Trunch's little lecture, the old guy from the previous night came in. There were a few more people in the room by this stage and he started interrogating people and asking if anyone had witnessed the events from the night before as he was going to press charges
. No one wanted to get involved so everyone said they'd seen nothing. Again he dealt with the situation in entirely the wrong way and I just think it showed that he was kind of out of touch with reality. Why would anyone in a hostel want to get involved in anything like that when they don't have to? It's not like he was injured or that it was a serious incident, he was pushed and then fell over his own feet after it was him who instigated the whole situation. I still feel sorry for him and his situation, but the guy had no idea.
So after that rather interesting start to the day and then chilling out for a bit, me and the other guys from Adelaide went for lunch, then a 3 hour walk through the hills above Loch Ness. The views would have been awesome, but the low cloud meant visibility wasn't great, but it did give the whole place a very 'Scottish' atmosphere. It rained lightly for most of the walk so we were all drenched by the time we got back, but it was a nice afternoon.
In the evening there was a quiz night (I think we came in 3rd or 4th), some more ales and then we got dressed up in kilts, which was a lot of fun.....check back soon for photos. Again it wasn't a really late one, back in bed around midnight, but we were all very careful not to disturb The Trunch, as she was already in bed....getting her beauty sleep I guess; it wasn't working for her tho! Haha. Really relaxing and cool day - I definitely got my dose of rain (liquid sunshine) and a real taste for traditional Scottish weather, beer and kilts.